Here’s this week’s preview of all the Big 12 games happening in Week 1 of the College Football season!
#10 Oklahoma State vs. Tulsa
Thursday, August 31st 6:30 PM CT, FS1
Oklahoma State is the first Big 12 team to get their football season started with in-state foe Tulsa visiting Stillwater. Philip Montgomery’s Golden Hurricane squad will look to catch Oklahoma State off guard with their high powered offense. That doesn’t seem likely, however, with Mike Gundy’s OSU predicted by many to compete in the inaugural Big 12 Championship Game this season. Unless something like another Central Michigan fluke happens this year, expect the Cowboys to roll over the Golden Hurricane.
#23 Texas vs. Maryland
Saturday, September 2nd 11:00 AM CT, FS1
Texas is getting a lot of preseason hype this year surrounding new coach Tom Herman. This game, against Big 10 foe Maryland, should help clarify if any of that hype is justified. Maryland is coming off of a 6-7 season a year ago and is looking to build off that. Texas is coming off of a 5-7 season from a year ago, theoretically putting the teams on similar levels. That being said, if Herman can get the Longhorns talent to play like they should, the 18.5 point spread in favor of Texas might not be as ludicrous as it sounds. I think Texas wins this game, but it will be closer than 18 points (how funny would it be if they lost, though?)
#7 Oklahoma vs. UTEP
Saturday, September 2nd 2:30 PM CT, FOX
Oklahoma is clearly the team to beat in the Big 12 this year with star Baker Mayfield returning as quarterback. Even in the absence of Bob Stoops, coach Lincoln Riley looks to continue the Sooners’ success. While I do think that the coaching transition will make itself apparent in a few games this year, this likely isn’t one of them. UTEP is coming off of a 4-8 season in the C-USA, and I don’t see any reason they will turn it around in this game where the spread is 43 (!!) points in favor of OU.
Texas Tech vs. Eastern Washington
Saturday, September 2nd 3:00 PM CT, FSN
Honestly, this game could be concerning for Texas Tech. They open the season against the #5/4 team in the FCS, Eastern Washington. While North Dakota State tends to soak up most of the FCS attention, Eastern Washington has consistently been one of the best teams in the FCS as well. Pair that with all the question marks surrounding Texas Tech—especially the defense—and this game could easily become a Red Raider nightmare. That being said, I think this is a game where Kingsbury’s high powered offense will be able to outrun Eastern Washington. Don’t be surprised if this game is a high scoring shootout that comes down to the wire, though.
Baylor vs Liberty
Saturday, September 2nd 6:00 PM CT, FS2
The game we’ve all been waiting for, Baylor’s season opener against Liberty. This game will mark the beginning of the Matt Rhule era. We’ll get to see what the new offense and defense look like and should hopefully be able to enjoy the first Baylor football victory 9 months after clobbering Boise State in the Cactus Bowl. Liberty is coming off of a 6-5 season from a year ago and should be a decent FCS team. Unless suspensions, injuries, and the new system really throw off Baylor’s mojo, the Bears should roll to a fairly easy win. Look for newly named starting QB Anu Solomon to put up some great, confidence building numbers, and for Zach Smith to get some snaps as well if the game turns to blowout. Also, I am predicting at least one Ish Wainright touchdown this Saturday. You heard it here first.
Kansas vs. Southeast Missouri State
Saturday, September 2nd 6:00 PM CT, ESPN3
Kansas football coach David Beaty is looking to finally break the basement-ceiling in the Big 12 and finish somewhere above last place. Luckily, Kansas opens with what should be an easy home win against a Southeast Missouri State team that went a mere 3-8 last year in the FCS. Unluckily for Kansas, they lost their JUCO star running back, Octavius Matthews, to a career ending injury. This game will give a good look at who might step up and fill that void and how psychologically damaging such a loss is to the team. Regardless, I think Kansas wins this one fairly easily, which should not be taken for granted by Jayhawks fans.
#20 Kansas State vs. Central Arkansas
Saturday, September 2nd 6:10 PM CT, ESPN3
Kansas State is looking to vie for a spot in the Big 12 championship game this year as a widely considered dark horse. Kansas State, under legendary coach Bill Snyder, will continue marching to its own beat with slow offense and strong defense in a conference that typically doesn’t value either. Coming off of a 9-4 season with a great bowl win against Texas A&M, KState is looking to improve and compete with college football’s elite. The season starts with what should be a good warmup game against Central Arkansas. But, this might not be a team that KState can sleep on entirely. Central Arkansas is coming off of a 10-3 season and looks to be one of the better FCS teams in the country this year. This game could be closer than expected given KSU’s play style, but I expect them to pull away somewhere in the second half.
Iowa State vs. Northern Iowa
Saturday, September 2nd 7:00 PM CT, Cyclones.tv
A lot of people are jumping on the Iowa State “bowl game or bust” bandwagon this year. Returning WR stud Allen Lazard and QB Jacob Park look to lead a strong offense that finally started to find its rhythm late last season, with a blowout 66-10 win over Texas Tech. Head coach Matt Campbell should have the offensive pieces he needs to make a run at ending the Cyclones’ bowl game drought. However, the season starts with Northern Iowa, a team that any Iowa State fan should know NOT to overlook. This instate FCS foe has gotten the better of the Cyclones numerous times in seasons past. But, I don’t think that will be the case this year, as Iowa State seems geared towards a stellar season by Cyclone standards.
TCU vs. Jackson State
Saturday, September 2nd 7:00 PM CT, FOX
Gary Patterson’s Horned Frog squad is in an interesting spot this year. On the one hand, there is a lot of reason to be excited about certain elements of the team, especially the defense with Travin Howard and a strong secondary returning. On the other hand, TCU returns Kenny Hill at quarterback who was extremely hit or miss last season. Reports from fall camp indicate Hill has made improvements, but we’ll see if that’s the case come game time. FCS school Jackson State likely won’t test TCU’s strengths and weaknesses as they are coming off of a 3-8 season. Expect TCU to roll in this game, even if you don’t want them to.
#22 West Virginia vs. #21 Virginia Tech
Sunday, September 3rd 6:30 PM CT, ABC
This is almost certainly the most exciting Big 12 game this weekend from an objective standpoint. This showdown between these two ranked teams is happening at FedExField, home of the Washington Redskins. Since it’s a Sunday game, basically every college football fan will be watching. West Virginia will unveil a large contingent of new starters, including their new QB Will Grier. Virginia Tech looks to improve off an electric 10-4 season under second year head coach Justin Fuente. While the Hokies have lost a lot of their offensive weapons, including their quarterback and three of their top four running backs, they return a lot on defense and should have another good year. The line for this game is currently at 4 points in favor of Virginia Tech. While I do think West Virginia is going to be strong in the Big 12 this year, I think this is the game the Big 12 is most likely to lose this weekend. I’m predicting WVU to lose a close one.